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Richard Petty Biography

Growing Up With Cars, Chronology, Joins The Nascar Circuit, Awards And Accomplishments, The King's Last LapCONTACT INFORMATION, SELECTED WRITINGS BY PETTY:, SELECTED WRITINGS BY PETTY:


American race car driver

Richard Petty's thirty-four years of winning competition on the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) circuit—during most of which he was the overwhelmingly dominant force—earned him the fitting nickname "The King." His record is unprecedented and unlikely ever to be equaled: 200 wins in NASCAR competition; seven Winston Cup championships; a record 700 top ten finishes. In 1967 alone, he won twenty-seven races, and in 1971, twenty-one. Petty won at least one race in eighteen consecutive seasons, from 1960 until 1977. When he retired in 1992, his racing winnings totaled $7,757,964. But more than the winningest driver in NASCAR history, Richard Petty was far and away its most popular figure. He was a man of

Richard Petty

the people who thought nothing of devoting eight or more hours to signing autographs for the legions of fans who turned out to see him wherever he appeared. Nine times fans voted him Winston Cup's most popular driver, and by the 1980s his fame had spread as far as Europe and Asia. It was Petty's common touch, far more than his dominance of the sport, that won NASCAR the following it enjoyed as the 1990s ended.

Richard Petty ranks in the pantheon of motor racing. He stands alone in stock car history: His 127 pole positions is a record, as are his twenty-seven victories in one season, his ten victories in a row, his 513 consecutive starts, and his 1,185 total starts. In addition, he has won seven Winston Cup championships, seven Daytona 500s, and was voted NASCAR's most popular driver in nine different years. What's more, Petty was an active participant in NASCAR history from its earliest inception when as a twelve-year-old, he was his father's pit crew chief into its period of greatest popularity in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s—popularity fueled by his own popularity among race fans. As NASCAR President Bill France Jr. told USA Today when Petty retired, "Richard Petty is NASCAR Winston Cup racing." That was no exaggeration.


Address: Petty Enterprise, 311 Branson Mill Rd., Randleman, NC 27317. Online: http://www.pettyracing.com/.




(With William Neely) King Richard I, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1986.

Sketch by Gerald E. Brennan

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Famous Sports StarsAuto Racing